(art by @sarahkelsiwrites but LOOK AT THIS!! LOOK AT HER HAIR?? JUST? WHAT? HOW? SHOOK? I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS.)
Last week I shared the profile for my fav anti-hero, Gemma Marquez from Chain Reaction, and today I’m going to be telling you about a very, very, very different character, Leigh from my novel Blue (title subject to change).
Leigh is one of my favourite characters I’ve created, and without even sharing a ton of details, she’s become a character that’s gotten a lot of attention. If you want to learn more about the book she’s in, I have a video on it here. In essence, Blue is a mostly contemporary, somewhat magical realism, vaguely comedic, new adult novel. Leigh has grown up being treated for a psychotic disorder that she’s adamant she doesn’t have. Why? She has memories of things that never happened to her. However, one day she finds a message in a bottle on the beach and opens it to find that it’s not any letter, it’s a letter she remembers writing, in the memories she’s been told her entire life are events that never happened.
Name: Leigh Evelyn Lamont
Why did I pick this name? There’s nothing that interesting or symbolic about Leigh’s name, I simply thought it suited her. I also felt like she was the type of character who suited an alliterated name.
Book and role: Blue; protagonist.
Job: she works at a gas station #it’s a career not a job, mom
Age: 19 - 22 over the novel’s course.
Personality type: ENFP
Leigh was a fun character to develop, but also a rather easy one for me. When I got the idea for this book in May of 2015, I knew pretty quickly that Leigh would be a more extraverted and goofy sort of character. However, the initial Leigh was also much more cynical, whereas with time Leigh became a very positive, optimistic person who only held bitterness towards a few events and people. As I developed her, I also realized that Leigh was very much a rebel without a cause, living a lazy, daredevil life. Strangely for such a sporadic human being, Leigh developed very linearly and very easily.
Although I haven’t been able to start her novel for various reasons, what I have written has lead to one of my favourite voices I’ve created. Leigh’s voice is such a joy to write because she’s fun and lets me indulge in a childlike optimism and humour.
Leigh has a bright, bold personality; although she’s very flawed, she’s probably one of my most loveable characters. Despite being lazy, disorganized, impulsive, unfocused, oblivious, and kind of a disaster, Leigh is a very fun person. She’s confident, carefree,
kind, friendly, loving, hilarious, goofy, and accepts and loves almost everyone she meets. Although not the boldest of her many bold traits, that might be my favourite thing about Leigh and what makes her such a lovely person: despite her constant state of disaster, she is so accepting and positive, and the type of person who loves instead of judging, and wants to share and spread happiness, since happiness is what she values most.
Leigh’s very extraverted, although an isolated childhood has left her unfulfilled in the friendship department, and so her energy is contained in various outlets and vices. Although many would call her lifestyle unhealthy, since her preferred mode of existence is sleeping until three in the afternoon, then going out to a club to binge drink with her friend Ben, and of course follow that with whatever wacky shenanigans Ben dares her to do that night, Leigh is happy, and for her being happy in the present moment is all that matters.
FUN RANDOM STUFF
Hogwarts house: Gryffindor
Theme song: Drive by Halsey / My Sweet Summer by The Dirty Heads
Lyric that describes her eerily perfectly:
“And they told you it was written in the stars / But you’ve never had a chance to look that far.” - “What It Is” by Kodaline
“And what a perfect day / To take what you can get / And live without regret.” – “I Can’t Figure Out What’s Going On” by Half Moon Run
“Our hearts forever glowing, there’s something in your motion / I never saw the view, I swerve to collide with you / You’re like a new creation, now there’s no hesitation / There’s nothing I can do, I swerve to collide with you.” – “Collide” by EVVY
“Your laugh echoes down the highway / Carves into my hollow chest, spreads over the emptiness / It’s bliss / It’s so simple but we can’t stay / Over analyze again, would it really kill you if we kissed?” – “Drive” by Halsey
Nothing in my world is wrong / At least I’m not the only one / Nobody wants to live alone / Hey there won’t you sing along.” – “Shaky Ground” by Freedom Fry
Arrested Development quote that best describes her:
“I’ll have a vodka rocks.” “It’s breakfast.” “And a piece of toast.”
“I’m afraid I just blue myself.” (I couldn’t not)
Pretentious literary quote that best describes her:
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
(just remove the part about God and poetry because I don’t think Leigh cares about either of those things)
Cinnamon roll status: looks like they could kill you but is actually a cinnamon roll.
Was voted as ____ in the yearbook: Most likely to laugh at their own jokes OR best hair
Best and worst school subjects? Leigh was not one to excel academically, and she dropped out of school when she was fourteen. She’s not very focused, driven, or organized which didn’t make her a model student. She can also be dumb sometimes. Her worst subject was probably Math, best English just because I have a feeling she’d be decent at bullshitting essays. She’s a good bullshitter.
What is her ‘literal logline?’ Girl who looks like a terrifying badass is actually a a pure ray of love and sunshine who doesn’t even know how to swear like a normal adult human.
Dream job? Lol…Leigh’s dream job would be not having one. Leigh is perfectly content to work her minimum wage job. As long as she has enough money to party on the weekends, she’s happy.
Cat or dog person? Definitely a dog person.
Clothing style? Leigh tends to dress in simple, black clothes, usually just shorts and a tank top or some sort of band t-shirt.
Coffee or tea? hmm…she says option three, tequila. She wants to start her mornings tipsy, not awake. But she’d take coffee over tea, I think she needs the caffeine.
Their aesthetic? Long stretches of tropical beach; clear summer skies with only a few puffy clouds; airplanes at takeoff; dancing under strobe lights; tightly packed concert crowds; driving down a stretch of highway just a little too fast.
Something everybody likes that they hate? Hmm, thinking of stuff Leigh hates is tough. She loves most things. Most people like a sense of stability in their lives. She hates that.
Something they like that everyone hates? Working at a gas station.
What’s their sexuality? Leigh is pansexual.
What I love most is that everyone seemed to immediately know that Leigh was LGBT+ without me even saying it. From the first time I talked about the book people were saying I should make Leigh queer or in a same-sex relationship, so many people have asked about Leigh’s sexuality, like everyone just seems to intuitively know, somehow, that Leigh is not straight. And you were all right!
What’s their favourite time of the year or day? Leigh prefers either mid afternoon or very late at night.
Insecurities? Leigh is an extremely confident person, but what I admire about her is that she’s confident without being arrogant. She simply has great self image. However, what she would be most insecure about would be her childhood since it contains some details she wouldn’t like to immediately share with others.
Birthday? May 15th.
Zodiac sign? That would make her a taurus. ( @sssoto this is probs very wrong right help me)
Spirit animal? She is a human golden retriever. Loves everyone. So much energy. Jumps around when excited which is always.
Favourite thing to do? Traveling. Or doing stupid, reckless shit. Or drinking. Or sleeping. She has an array of hobbies.
How was their childhood? Leigh’s childhood was idyllic up until she was six. At this point, she had what was first interpreted as a manic episode, and she was diagnosed with bipolar I. However, that diagnosis was later removed and doctors struggled to properly diagnose her for years, until at twelve she was diagnosed Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Leigh was extremely resistant to treatment for what she did not believe was a disorder, but a great part of this resistance was her rebellious nature and desire to fight authority figures, namely her parents. She fought each decision her parents or doctors made, especially the choice to pull her from public school, and she wreaked havoc through her early teens in protest, especially because her mother’s attempts to raise her in a controlled, safe environment had extraverted, outgoing Leigh feeling increasingly stifled and isolated. This caused her to only have one close friendship, with her neighbour Ben; although she’s had a long string of relationships that crashed because of her disastrous and irresponsible behaviour.
Leigh’s protests eventually became more apathetic by her mid and late teens. She turned to exterior outlets such as alcohol, drugs, and general reckless behaviour; instead of violent outbursts at parents and psychiatrists, she hatched plans to avoid taking medication or other such silent rebellions.
By the time we start the novel when Leigh is nineteen, she’s accepted the overbearing environment she lives in, but rather than fighting it, simply makes the most of her life in her times of freedom.
What’s their relationship with their parents? Leigh’s relationship with her mother is very poor. Out of bitterness for her mother’s controlling attitudes, Leigh does a lot simply to spite her. However, Leigh’s relationship with her father is much better. He was always more inclined to listen to her when she was a child, expressing concern for her own experience and feelings when no one else did, so they remain close.
TV show you think they would enjoy? Leigh would probably prefer sitcoms an comedies to anything else. My favourite sitcom, Arrested Development, I think Leigh would love it. That, and she’d probably be game for any sort of brainless reality TV.
If they had social media, what would it be like? First of all, never let Leigh have twitter. She has so many ridiculous, random thoughts, she’d never shut up on twitter. She’d just shit post all the time. Her tumblr would be all memes and stupid shit posts. Her instagram would be a lot of super blurry photos from nights out, also some memes in there. Facebook, also a ton of memes. Leigh also has a fake Facebook account she uses to…well…stalk her psychiatrist?
I know all the dirt on good old Steve. Making that fake Facebook
profile and friending him pays off more and more everyday. Oh Steve, if only
you knew the rebel who would make any self respecting soccer mom hide her
children in fear of a bad influence was in fact the Sharon Johnson on whose
(admittedly, fake) profile picture you declared “a great photo of you Sharon!
How are the kids?” only last week. He totally has a thing for ‘Sharon’ and the joke’s
on him. Yes, I did accidentally catfish my psychiatrist. Fight me.
it hurt, when I fell from heaven? Yes. Yes it did.”
mean, why listen to Leigh? It’s only her brain.”
this is the greatest win of my sweet young life, and it’s a giant screw you to all my
overbearing authority figures. Even better.”
isn’t about odds; crazy things happen every day despite them.”
whole life people have been trying to fix me, but there’s nothing broken. And yet
they still wonder why they haven’t been able to put me back together.”
like to drop a conversational bomb on my family. You know, to keep things
interesting. They’re a boring group, the Lamonts. They’re much more
entertaining in a hysteric fit of panic. “I’m
pregnant,” I announce nonchalantly, amidst a five-minute-long span of silent
chewing. Mom chokes on a sip of water. “What?”
Her eye twitches. I cut off a laugh. “Not really, that was just to
cushion the real news I wanted to break to you. And that news is that [spoiler].” “What?” Much more violent than the last what. Clearly didn’t cushion it enough. Note to self: next time open with Mom, I killed a man.
So that’s Leigh! I wish I had better stuff in the quotes department, but unfortunately my plans to write this novel this summer were not able to happen. Sadness.
Once again, a huge thanks to @sarahkelsiwrites for her AMAZING art of Leigh (I’m still shook). I’ll hopefully be able to post another character profile next week!
It’s not been the easiest year, but we’ve nearly made it - 2016 is almost over. And one of the things that’s made this year bearable has been the incredible selection of books I’ve read. In no particular order, here’s my top twenty favourite reads of 2016!
I don’t know what that Method is. Acting is life, to me, and should be.
- Vivien Leigh
Alan Webb said to me that if you found yourself naked with Vivien in the Sahara Desert with absolutely nothing, twenty-four hours later you would be coming out in a Rolls-Royce, covered in minks and drinking champagne.
- David Conville.
In the thinking now of that moment the recollection of her evokes all sorts of images: quicksilver; elegance and composure, like a small Siamese cat; and the tinkling charm of a Chinese lantern.
- Olivia de Havilland
What to say.. Vivien, dear Vivien… exquisite actress, thoughtful, fearless, gracious and enormously kind… a little pink cloud floating through the lives of all her friends, hovering over the setting sun, and thinking of everyone else but herself.
- Katharine Hepburn
Vivien, you’re going to be a great star - as great as Garbo.
- John Gliddon to Vivien, 1935.
Happy 101sth birthday to Vivien Leigh, one of my most favourite actresses and a true inspiration.